Directors of Public Health will meet to discuss practical ways to effectively implement Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) programme activities in 10 Pacific countries. Key to this effective implementation is mainstreaming AHD issues-ensuring that they are addressed in activities in all sectors and at all levels.

18 August 2010, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

The meeting being held in Nadi, Fiji Islands 23-25 August will consider current AHD strategies and goals, AHD achievements, constraints on achievement of planned outputs and outcomes, and effective ways of mainstreaming AHD actions.

'As a response to the Pacific Health Ministers 2009 Madang Commitment, Directors will share proposed visions for better management and implementation of the AHD programme over the next three to five years and agree on practical and feasible ways of repositioning AHD in the mainstream of public health in the countries,' said Dr George Malefoasi, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) AHD Advisor.

The Pacific AHD Programme is a joint initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and SPC addressing the health and development issues of young people in the Pacific, especially their sexual and reproductive health.

The countries with AHD support include Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

AHD was tasked through the Regional AHD Strategic Plan 2009-2012 to create a supportive and enabling environment, strengthen information and education through life skills training, strengthen youth-friendly services and strengthen project management and delivery.

'The commitment of national governments in mainstreaming and taking the leading role in the expansion of services to the adolescents is crucial,' Dr Malefoasi said.

The meeting will facilitate the repositioning of AHD into national organisational structures and functions, and its alignment with national priorities and plans. It will also allow better understanding of countries' specific needs for technical assistance and other kinds of support from SPC.

It is envisioned that the outcomes of the discussions will shape the mainstreaming of AHD programme activities and give clear directions for actions by countries and SPC's AHD Section over the next two years and beyond.